Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Daily Situation Report: August 28, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • raided a village near Bethlehem and beat a number of civilians while invading their homes; 4 (including 1 woman) sustained contusions
  • conducted 9 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 8 Palestinians and carried out 11 detentions
  • smashed 3 Palestinian vehicles' windshields
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. opened fire and fired a mortar towards Israeli soldiers

Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 27, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • critically injured a Palestinian civilian
  • conducted 23 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 17 Palestinians and carried out 17 detentions
  • demolished a Palestinian house annex in Jerusalem
  • razed some agricultural land and destroyed crops in Gaza

Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. held a demonstration
  2. opened fire and fired mortars at Israeli soldiers

Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 26, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • shot and injured a Palestinian civilian
  • conducted 20 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 6 Palestinians and carried out 13 detentions
  • Navy boats opened fire intensively towards Palestinian fishing boats at sea

Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. fired towards two Israeli military patrols in Gaza

Full report

Friday, August 28, 2009

Israeli Organ Harvesting: The New Blood Libel?

CounterPunch / If Americans Knew
... evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years..

... Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family....

... In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled "Pasque di Sangue" (“Blood Passovers”)24 containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff [Israeli professor and rabbi, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history] had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents... Full story

HISTORY: The Kennedys vs Israel’s Lobby

The lobby’s accolades for the late Ted Kennedy and his support of Israel mask the generally unknown conflicts fought by the senator’s older brothers. It is likely that lessons from the fiercest of all battles, fought behind the scenes by President John F. Kennedy alongside his brother and Attorney General Robert—guided the younger sibling’s political choices. Details of the JFK-RFK duo’s effort to register the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) parent organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC) as an Israeli foreign agent were shrouded in mystery until declassified in mid-2008... Full story

ANALYSIS - Settlement Freeze: Is that what is really needed for two-state solution?

The talk about Israel freezing its illegal settlement activities in the West Bank is not new, however, it is sometimes highlighted and sometimes hidden in the drawers of the politicians....

...232 settlements have been built since 1996, immediately after the signing of the Oslo accords...

... Israel claims that certain outposts are illegal and that they have been erected without the authorization of the government. In fact, Israel sometimes removes some of these outposts as an attempt to show the world that it is removing what it describes as “illegal settlements.” This serves to divert international attention away from the fact that all settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal and are a grave violation of international law. This includes those settlements that Israel describes as cities or neighborhoods of Jerusalem such as Ma'ale Adomim, Gilo, Ariel, and Gush Etzion as well as the entire settlement ring around Jerusalem...

... The wall, as routed by Israel, shrinks the West Bank by half and disconnects the North form the South giving Israel control over more than 90 percent of the ground water in the West Bank. According to this structure, the Palestinian State will be completely confined inside Israel. Full story

FEATURE: We refuse to be enemies!

When Dahood Naaser talks about his land you could be forgiven for thinking that he is talking about one of his children. His words are not the grand statements of a politician or a nation builder but rather the heartfelt expressions of a man who has been raised with his hands in the soil... Full story

The Israeli military attacks the weekly protest in Nil'in

One young man was injured and dozens of Palestinians and internationals suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in N'ilin village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah... Full story

Several injuries reported in Bil'in weekly noneviolent protest

Three nonviolent protestors were injured and dozens were suffocated after inhaling teargas fired by the Israeli army during the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall in Bil'in village, near the central West Bank.

...Nonviolent weekly protests against the Wall have been conducted every Friday for the past five years... Full story

More info

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, 10 wounded by Israeli forces this week

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 20 - 26 August 2009, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and a 4th is missing following attacks in the Gaza Strip. 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire, including 9 in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank... Full story

PCHR Report: 20-26 August 2009

Mother of abducted soldier tells rally Palestinians want Shalit freed

... Aviva, the mother of Shalit [Israeli soldier captured by Palestinians from Gaza in 2006], said that the Palestinians also want Shalit freed, and that Palestinian families are waiting for their sons, imprisoned by Israel, to be freed.

[Israel is currently holding over 10,000 Palestinian men, women, and children in Israeli prisons.]

She added that the Palestinians in Gaza are living in poverty, with their homes shelled and leveled, and that they are paying the price... Full story

PA: Israeli troops arrested Palestinian, assaulted four others

Israeli troops detained a student and injured four Palestinians within a 12-hour span, according to a Palestinian Authority police report filed on Friday... troops stormed his house... oldiers erected a new iron gate at the entrance of An-Naqura village near Nablus. Full story

Five Palestinians detained near Al-Aqsa Mosque

Five Palestinians were detained on en route to Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem around noon, according to Israeli news reports....

... Tens of thousands of Muslim Palestinians were thought to have participated in prayers on Friday, one of the four more important days of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

Israel prevented access to all West Bank Palestinian males younger than 50, and females younger than 45, from the site, which is considered by Muslims to be the third holiest site in Islam... Full story

Archbishop Tutu tells Ma'an: World must engage Hamas

Israel and other parties have no choice but to talk to Hamas, South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. Full Story

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UN envoy welcomes Fayyad plan for de facto state

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said he welcomed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan for a de facto Palestinian state by the year 2011, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

Full Article

Soldiers shoot Palestinian man in Hebron

Israeli soldiers shot and lightly injured a young Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Hebron.

...Palestinian sources later identified the man as Maher Al-Qudsi, 26. Palestinian sources also said he was injured seriously, receiving gunshots to the leg and chest. They said the soldiers left him to bleed on the ground before medics rushed him to a local hospital.

Full Article

Carter, Tutu among 'Elders' promoting peace in Israel, West Bank

Former US and Irish Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, as well as South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and other international luminaries, visited Qalandiya Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday.

Together they form The Elders, an organization founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007. The group was visiting Israel and the West Bank over the past week to gather support for a renewed peace process.

Full Article

Two Old City Jerusalem families forced to demolish own homes

Two Palestinian families in Jerusalem’s Old City have been forced to demolish their own house after Israeli authorities threatened him with heavy fines if he did not.

Full Article

Daily Situation Report: August 25, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • killed 4 civilians: 3 brothers and 1 farmer
  • injured 10 Palestinians, 4 seriously, including a child
  • conducted 21 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 8 Palestinians and carried out 10 detentions
  • denied an ambulance access to an injured civilian

Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. fired 3 mortars towards the border with Israel

Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 24, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • injured 1 farmer in Gaza
  • conducted 17 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 14 Palestinians and carried out 12 detentions (including an American)
  • allowed settlers to desecrate Al Aqsa Mosque
  • demolished 3 shops

Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. held 1 demonstration

Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 23, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • severely beat a civilian
  • conducted 15 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 1 Palestinian civilian and carried out 13 detentions

Israeli settlers
  • opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle

Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 22, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • conducted 14 raids into Palestinian territory
  • kidnapped 1 Palestinian civilian woman and carried out 14 detentions (including an American)
  • injured 8 Palestinians and 2 Italian peace activists
  • severely beat protestors with clubs and rifle butts, leaving 3 civilians, including a child, with contusions
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. held 5 demonstrations
Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 21, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • conducted 19 raids into Palestinian territory (during one of these raids they entered and searched a kindergarten)
  • kidnapped 9 Palestinians and carried out 13 detentions
  • closed various sections of Palestinian cities and 47 main roads
  • continued construction of the wall on Palestinian land
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. opened fire on Israeli troops invading Gaza
Full report

Daily Situation Report: August 20, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • conducted 33 raids into Palestinian territory
  • detained/kidnapped 21 Palestinians
  • closed towns, villages, a religious site, and roads
  • continued construction of the wall on Palestinian land
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. held one demonstration
  2. opened fire on Israeli troops invading central Gaza
Full report

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Daily Situation Report: August 19, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • injured a Palestinian civilian and her baby daughter
  • conducted 22 raids into Palestinian territory
  • detained/kidnapped 27 Palestinians
  • closed 46 main roads within Palestinian territory
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  1. held one demonstration
  2. detonated an explosive near an Israeli military patrol in Gaza
Full report

Scores suffered tear gas inhalation As Israeli troops attack Nil'in weekly protest

... Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in N'ilin village near the central West Bank.... Full story

Dozen were suffocated by tear gas at the weekly demonstration in Bil'in

Dozen were suffocated with tear gas on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the Bil'in villagers, central west Bank, and their international and Israeli supporters... the Israeli military continued to target the organizers of the weekly nonviolent protests...

...During the daily invasions that started last month the Israeli military have arrested 28 people, most of whom are under 18. Nineteen residents of Bil'in remain in Israeli detention....

... For almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands for the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Full story

The right-wing PR firms that make Birthright Israel free

5W Public Relations CEO Ron Torossian

... one of the most widely praised Jewish communal programs, is facing a rare dose of criticism from within the Jewish world after deciding to hire a public relations company with ... a history of controversy...

....Birthright Israel is sponsored by a combination of funding from the Israeli government, American Jewish federations and Jewish philanthropists around the globe...

... [Israel advocate] Jeffrey Goldberg
dubbed Torossian's advocacy of mass military retaliation against Palestinian civilians "a Nazi idea"...

The firm "was caught posting fraudulent commments on web sites," represents softcore pornographers, and
CEO Ronn Torossian, who founded an organization which worked to push non-Jewish Israeli citizens out of Jerusalem, has a history of threatening people. Full story

Israel to Sweden: We want a clear denunciation not meditations on a blog

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum arrested in New Jersey on charges of selling human organs

... Israeli envoy Benny Dagan harshly criticized the Swedish government and called for them to issue a denunciation of the article...

The article... also makes a link to an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey, which includes several members of the American Jewish community, as well as one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant...

... [Swedish Foreign Minister Carl]
Bildt denied the request, however, writing in a blog post late Thursday that he would not condemn the article as "freedom of expression is part of the Swedish constitution."

"Freedom of expression and press freedom are very strong in our constitution by tradition. And that strong protection has served our democracy and our country well," Bildt wrote.
Full story

[Israel is ignoring the point of the Swedish article -- calling for an investigation of these extremely serious charges.]

PFLP demands investigation on reports of Israeli organ harvesting

International human rights organizations must to carry out a serious and immediate investigation on the media reports published by a Swedish newspaper alleging Israeli forces harvested organs from Palestinian youth...

The report in Aftonbladet details how Israeli soldiers detained young men who died in custody and whose bodies were returned with organs missing...

...They noted that the story was similar to violations carried out by Israeli soldiers in the 1980s in Gaza, where soldiers were revealed to have stolen organs from children taken to Israeli hospitals... Full story

English translation of Swedish newspaper article

Friday, August 21, 2009

English translation of Swedish article: “Our sons plundered for their organs”

Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom

”Våra söner plundras på sina organ” (Aftonbladet Kultur)
Original article published on August 17, 2009.


You could call me a “matchmaker,” said Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, USA, in a secret recording with an FBI-agent whom he believed to be a client. Ten days later, at the end of July this year, Rosenbaum was arrested and a vast, Sopranos-like, imbroglio of money-laundering and illegal organ-trade was revealed. Rosenbaum’s matchmaking had nothing to do with romance. It was all about buying and selling kidneys from Israel on the black market. Rosenbaum says that he buys the kidneys for $10,000, from poor people. He then proceeds to sell the organs to desperate patients in the States for $160,000. The accusations have shaken the American transplantation business. If they are true it means that organ trafficking is documented for the first time in the US, experts tell the New Jersey Real-Time News.

Unga palestinska män kastar sten och glasflaskor mot israeli Young Palestinian men throwing stones and bottles at Israeli soldiers in Northern West Bank. It was in the area that Bilal Achmed Ghanan was shot dead and cut open at a hospital. Photo: Donald Boström

Bilal Achmed Ghanan, 19, sköts och fördes bort av israeliska Bilal Achmed Ghanan, 19, was shot and abducted by Israeli soldiers. THe body was returned with stitches running from the abdomen to the chin. Photo: Donald Boström

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum förs bort av FBI-agenter. Rosenbaum ska Levy Izhak Rosenbaum being taken away by FBI agents. Rosenbaum is suspected of acting as a human organ broker. Photo: AP

On the question of how many organs he has sold Rosenbaum replies: “Quite a lot. And I have never failed,” he boasts. The business has been running for quite some time. Francis Delmonici, professor of transplant surgery at Harvard and member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of Directors, tells the same newspaper that organ-trafficking, similar to the one reported from Israel, is carried out in other places of the world as well. 5–6,000 operations a year, about ten per cent of the world’s kidney transplants are carried out illegally, according to Delmonici.

Countries suspected of these activities are Pakistan, the Philippines and China, where the organs are allegedly taken from executed prisoners. But Palestinians also harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.

Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the nineties. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).

In the summer of 1992, Ehud Olmert, then minister of health, tried to address the issue of organ shortage by launching a big campaign aimed at having the Israeli public register for post-mortem organ donation. Half a million pamphlets were spread in local newspapers. Ehud Olmert himself was the first person to sign up. A couple of weeks later the Jerusalem Post reported that the campaign was a success. No fewer than 35,000 people had signed up. Prior to the campaign it would have been 500 in a normal month. In the same article, however, Judy Siegel, the reporter, wrote that the gap between supply and demand was still large. 500 people were in line for a kidney transplant, but only 124 transplants could be performed. Of 45 people in need of a new liver, only three could be operated on in Israel.

While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.

I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed. One example that I encountered on this eerie trip was the young stone-thrower Bilal Achmed Ghanan.

It was close to midnight when the motor roar from an Israeli military column sounded from the outskirts of Imatin, a small village in the northern parts of the West Bank. The two thousand inhabitants were awake. They were still, waiting, like silent shadows in the dark, some lying upon roofs, others hiding behind curtains, walls, or trees that provided protection during the curfew but still offered a full view toward what would become the grave for the first martyr of the village. The military had interrupted the electricity and the area was now a closed-off military zone – not even a cat could move outdoors without risking its life. The overpowering silence of the dark night was only interrupted by quiet sobbing. I don’t remember if our shivering was due to the cold or to the tension. Five days earlier, on May 13, 1992, an Israeli special force had used the village’s carpentry workshop for an ambush. The person they were assigned to put out of action was Bilal Achmed Ghanan, one of the stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters who made life difficult for the Israeli soldiers.

As one of the leading stone-throwers Bilal Ghanan had been wanted by the military for a couple of years. Together with other stone-throwing boys he hid in the Nablus mountains, with no roof over his head. Getting caught meant torture and death for these boys – they had to stay in the mountains at all costs.

On May 13 Bilal made an exception, when for some reason, he walked unprotected past the carpentry workshop. Not even Talal, his older brother, knows why he took this risk. Maybe the boys were out of food and needed to restock.

Everything went according to plan for the Israeli special force. The soldiers stubbed their cigarettes, put away their cans of Coca-Cola, and calmly aimed through the broken window. When Bilal was close enough they needed only to pull the triggers. The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair. Villagers say that people from both the UN and the Red Crescent were close by, heard the discharge and came to look for wounded people in need of care. Some arguing took place as to who should take care of the victim. Discussions ended with Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family. Five days later he came back, dead and wrapped in green hospital fabric.

A villager recognized Captain Yahya, the leader of the military column who had transported Bilal from the postmortem center Abu Kabir, outside of Tel Aviv, to the place for his final rest. “Captain Yahya is the worst of them all,” the villager whispered in my ear. After Yahya had unloaded the body and changed the green fabric for a light cotton one, some male relatives of the victim were chosen by the soldiers to do the job of digging and mixing cement.


Together with the sharp noises from the shovels we could hear laughter from the soldiers who, as they waited to go home, exchanged some jokes. As Bilal was put in the grave his chest was uncovered. Suddenly it became clear to the few people present just what kind of abuse the boy had been exposed to. Bilal was not by far the first young Palestinian to be buried with a slit from his abdomen up to his chin.

The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?” Nafe’s uncle was upset and he had a lot of questions.

The relatives of the dead Palestinians no longer harbored any doubts as to the reasons for the killings, but the spokesperson for the Israeli army claimed that the allegations of organ theft were lies. All the Palestinian victims go through autopsy on a routine basis, he said. Bilal Achmed Ghanem was one of 133 Palestinians killed in various ways that year. According to the Palestinian statistics the causes of death were: shot in the street, explosion, tear gas, deliberately run over, hanged in prison, shot in school, killed at home etcetera. The 133 people killed were between four months to 88 years old. Only half of them, 69 victims, went through postmortem examination. The routine autopsy of killed Palestinians – of which the army spokesperson was talking – has no bearing on the reality in the occupied territories. The questions remain.

We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.

About the author

Farwana: “All facts on the ground prove Swedish report correct”

Former Palestinian detainee, researcher Abdul-Nasser Farwana, stated that all facts on the ground, since decades, prove that the Israeli occupation executed Palestinian detainees after they surrendered and refused to hand their bodies to their families. Hundreds of bodies were transferred to the families days, months or even years after the fact, and when the bodies were sent back, they were missing vital internal organs.

Farwana added that the Swedish report, written by Donald Boström and published by Aftonbladet Swedish paper, regarding illegal trafficking of body parts of Palestinians is directly connected to the execution of Palestinians after they surrendered to the army, and is connected with the arrest of 40 well-known figures, including Rabbis in New Jersey for money laundering and corruption, in a scheme that involved sales of Israeli kidneys in the US and other corruption rackets.

Farwana added that one of the illegal acts carried out by Israel is having secret detention facilities in which dozens of detainees were imprisoned and never heard of anymore. This is in addition to the “Numbers Graveyard” in which “unknown” Palestinian and Arab fighters are buried.

He said that Israel still denies it is holding hundreds of Palestinian and Arab fighter, and refuses to cooperate with the Red Cross on the issue.

The researcher added that Israel is the only state that had a policy of detaining the bodies of slain Arab and Palestinian fighters, and that some 300 fighters are buried in the numbers graveyard.

Hundreds of bodies were returned during prisoner-swap deals, including the latest swap-deal between Hezbollah and Israel in which some 200 bodies were moved to Lebanon.

Farwana further said that dozens of detainees died in Israeli prisons, some due to torture, and their bodies were not immediately sent to their families, but instead were moved to forensic center, and some of their body parts were removed before bodies were sent back to the Palestinians.

He said the Swedish paper said in its report that Palestinians youth were abducted by the Israeli army from their homes, were killed later on, and when their bodies were return, they were cut open and vital organs were missing.

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Rosenberg, who was recently arrested in New York, is believed to be involved in illegal trade of organs, and that he sold Kidney to patients in the United States for 160.000 USD... Full story

Israeli Murdering of Palestinians for their Organs - Khalid Amayreh

Israeli officials and spokespersons have been railing against a leading Swedish newspaper for publishing a report claiming that the Israeli occupation army murders Palestinians in order to use their organs for transplants for Jewish patients...

“Blood libel”

Israeli spokesperson and Foreign Ministry officials were raving and ranting against Aftonbladet accusing the mass circulation newspaper of indulging in “blood libel” and making “canards” against Israel .

Israeli spokesman Yigal Palmor said the Swedish newspaper had “turned the demonization of Israel into a sacred cause.”

Other Israeli officials threatened to sue the Swedish newspaper for libel, claiming that the report was an expression of anti-Semitism...

Earlier this year, the Israeli army, using internationally-banned weapons launched a massive and deadly blitzkrieg on the virtually unprotected population of the Gaza Strip, killing, maiming and incinerating thousands of innocent civilians, including hundreds of children...

Similarly, Israel had killed thousands of innocent civilians in the West Bank , and many of the victims were sent to the Abu Kabir forensic institute for autopsy operations.

However, it is unclear if the vital organs of these young victims were always disposed of or taken out for transplant in Jewish patients.

The Israeli army, which exerts huge political and legal influence in Israel, nearly always resisted scrutiny of its operations in the West Bank ...

In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.”

The Arab Knesset member who posed the question to Dahan is believed to be Ahmed Teibi. Teibi pointed out that he had received “credible evidence” proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank .

During an interview with al-Jazeera TV in 2002, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat accused the Israeli apartheid regime of murdering Palestinian infants, children, and youths and harvesting their vital organs for transplants.

"They murder our kids and use their organs as spare parts... During the interview, which took place on 14 January, 2002, Arafat held up photos of the mutilated bodies of the children...

Israel had admitted that doctors at the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir had harvested the organs of 3 Palestinian youth killed by the Israeli army near Khan Younis.

After 10 days the bodies of the three victims were returned to their families for burial but with their organs and even their eyes removed.

Israel never carried out a serious investigation into this and other incidents involving the extrication of vital organs from the body of Palestinian victims killed by the Israeli occupation forces.

According to reporter Saira Soufan, the illegal harvesting of the organs of Palestinian soldiers and freedom fighters has been documented since before the 1990's.

“Upon return of the soldiers' bodies to their mourning families, the pillage of body parts is discovered during the burial process.

“ The empty cavities have been filled with garbage such as cotton wool, garden hoses, and broomsticks, then sewn up as a result of a so-called ‘autopsy.’”

Occasionally, Israeli authorities steal body organs from the bodies of tourists who die in Israel .

An unpublicized instance occurred in 1998, when a Scotsman, Alistair Sinclair, died under mysterious circumstances in the Ben-Gurion Airport lockup.

Mr. Sinclair's parents [or brother] sued the Israeli authorities upon finding that their son's heart and other organs missing. A replacement heart and organs were sent to his mother, who didn’t believe that these were those of her son's. Full story

Israeli Court extends remand of Laila Taha

The Israeli District Court extended the remand of Laila Taha, the daughter of former member of Israeli Knesset, Wasel Taha, until next Monday to place her under further interrogation.

Laila Taha - Image by Arabs48
Laila Taha - Image by Arabs48

Taha was arrested earlier this week while the Israeli court imposed a gag order on the case refusing to reveal any further information on the case.

Laila was arrested at a military roadblock in the occupied West Bank and was immediately taken for questioning.

Following her abduction, the Israeli police and Special Forces broke into the house of her father, searched it and confiscated her personal computer.

Wasel Taha is the head of the National Democratic Assembly in Kufur Kanna, north of the country.

His daughter was arrested along with two young men. She is a member of National Democratic Youth Union, and studies Political Science and Arabic at Haifa University.

Her father described the arrest as a provocative act, and an attempt to intimidate his politically and socially active daughterTaha added that his daughter and the youths detained with her are not involved in any illegal activities.

He accused Israel of escalating its violations against members of supporters of the Assembly.

The Public Committee for Defending Freedoms, part of the Higher Arab Follow-up Committee, considered the arrest as another attempt by the Israeli security apparatus to intimidate politically active Arab youth... Full story

Women's delegation on East J'lem evictions: Words not enough

(Left) former EU parliament Vice President Luisa Morgantini; (Right) former foreign minister of Iceland Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir

The international community must “suspend all military aid to Israel and suspend investment in settlements in the West Bank,” former EU parliament Vice President Luisa Morgantini said on Friday outside the homes of evicted East Jerusalem Palestinians.

“It’s not enough to call for a stop to the settlements. We need the international community to take concrete action,” she said.

Morgantini was part of a high-ranking international women’s coalition which called for the world to take action to reverse Israel’s forcible eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

The members of the tripartite International Women’s Commission (IWC) spoke alongside members of the now-homeless Ghawi and Hanoun families. They included the former foreign minister of Iceland, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, Israeli peace advocates, and the Palestinian deputy minister of women’s affairs, Salwa Hdeib.

Israeli police forced more than fifty members of the two families from two buildings in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood into the street on 2 August, making way for Israeli settlers to take over the houses.

“We came here today to link the IWC’s long aim, which is to establish peace based on human rights and international law, to the call to stop all evictions,” said Morgantini in an interview with Ma’an shortly after a press conference on the sidewalk outside the Hanoun family home.

“Today was very important,” Morgantini said, “because it showed Palestinian, Israeli, and international women speaking with one voice.”

Morgantini and Gisladottir with evicted Palestinians

The IWC, a coalition of prominent Palestinian, Israeli, and International women, was set up during a meeting in Istanbul in 2005. Supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the organization is co-chaired by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf...

Until the international community takes action, the Ghawi and Hanoun families are cooking their meals and spending their nights on the sidewalk near their former homes. In the Ghawi building, two settler families who originally moved into the building have since vacated. A private Israeli security contractor now guards the building, and a security camera has been installed. The building’s windows, smashed when Israeli police raided it on 2 August, remain unrepaired... Full story

International arrested in Beit Ummar-area protest, residents attacked

Maan image
Israeli forces broke up a peace march and arrested an international solidarity activist in the Hebron-area settlement of Karmi Zur on Friday.

Soldiers used what was described by participants as excessive force and attacked residents and internationals marching in protest of Israel's refusal to allow local farmers to cultivate their lands, much of which abuts the settlement.

The international, an American of Palestinian origin, was detained and later released, with warnings that he was not to enter the West Bank for two weeks. He was not charged. The warning comes at the same time as American consular officials expressed concern over the recent use of stamps prohibiting Palestinian and Arab Americans from entering any area other than the West Bank... Full story

Prisoner with advanced cancer to be released from Israeli facility

Israeli authorities released 22-year-old prisoner and cancer patient Hamza At-Taraireh from the Bani Ne’em detention center Thursday...

...The young man was diagnosed with throat cancer in April 2009, following months of complaints and treatment of only painkillers. Full story

Info on Palestinian prisoners

Six Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in northern WB

Israeli forces seized six Palestinians from the Nablus and Tulkarem areas Thursday night.

Raids on West Bank areas continued into Friday morning. Israeli sources said the six taken were “transferred to investigation centers for questioning.” Full story

Gaza crossings shut down first days of Ramadan

All crossings into the Gaza Strip will be closed Friday, they will remain closed Saturday, seeing no goods transferred on the first days of Ramadan.

... the decision was communicated by Israeli crossings officials. The closures follow refusals by Israeli authorities to allow additional goods for Ramadan and the start of the school year into the Strip. Full story

Delays at Allenby see women, children trapped in busses for hours

More than 700 travelers heading to the West Bank from Jordan were delayed at the Allenby Bridge for at least four hours...

No drinking water or washrooms were provided for the travelers, including women and children, as changes to the bus system transporting travelers from the Jordanian to the Israeli side of the West Bank border caused massive delays.

Passengers were not allowed even to disembark from the busses as they waited at the border, and many fear delays will only increase as the day progresses. Full story

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Children demonstrate against night raids; that night israeli forces storm village, arrest man

At 12:15 p.m., soldiers marched into the center of the village in riot gear and helmets...At first, little boys danced and sang in front of them, jumping up and down as the soldiers hung around under the trees looking frustrated.

One small boy had a toy machine gun that made noise... a soldier told the father he couldn’t go home if the boy had the toy gun. The father said, “But it’s his.” “If I see him on the street with that gun, I’ll shoot him,” was the soldier’s response.

Children's demo Bil'in, August 8, 2009
Today, the first nonviolent demonstration for the children of Bil'in took place to protest against the night raids and the many arrests of young boys in the village. They carried banners and chanted slogans like "We want to sleep," "No more night raids," "Let us live," "We want Peace," and so on. The children lead the demonstration toward the Apartheid Wall with villagers and Palestinian and international activists following them. At the Wall they were met by two soldiers only who were on regular duty at the Wall.

Arrived at the Wall, the children continued their chanting as the soldiers watched. Two Jeeps arrived with reinforcement. Noticing that the gate, which leads to the green line and gives access to the Wall, was open, five soldiers came through the door of the Wall to close it shut while the children chanted into their faces and activists challenged them about arresting children. They asked them whether they were ever thinking about what they were doing. Once the gate was shut, the occupation forces retreated.

The children and the protesters gathered at the Wall for a while placing their posters and flags at the gate. Seeing all the children, the occupation forces refrained from firing any tear gas or ammunition. They simply told everyone to go back. Eventually, everyone returned to the village. Full story

Israeli forces invade Bili'n, detain Popular Committee organizer

Israeli soldiers detain Abu Rahmeh - more photos

The Israeli forces raided the village of Bil’in and seized Vice President of the Village Council and member of the Popular Committee against the Wall, 48-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh on Thursday morning.

An infantry division stormed the man’s house only hours after a children’s demonstration walked toward soldiers guarding the separation barrier which weekly protests target, and chanted to soldiers, “We want to sleep," "Stop the night raids."

Abu Rahmeh’s home was invaded shortly before 2am, ending with his arrest. His son 14-year-old son Nashmi Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh was arrested on 15 August.

According to reports from the popular committee, about 25 soldiers with painted faces entered the village, and threw sound bombs at international activists who have remained in the village to witness the night raids. Internationals attempted to intervene and demand Abu Rahmeh’s release, but were physically assaulted as they approached. Reports said soldiers knocked one woman to the ground and pulled the hair of another.

A Palestinian cameraman’s equipment was destroyed, as he attempted to document the scene... Full story

OPT: Gaza mothers, newborns affected by Israeli blockade

Inadequate infrastructure, lack of equipment and a shortage of hospital staff are contributing to the deterioration of hospital care for mothers and newborns in Gaza, according to a July 2009 assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem.

WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza’s healthcare system to the Israeli blockade since June 2007, when Hamas took over control of the territory...

...“Ten types of essential medications for maternal care, like Prostin gel that induces labour, are out of stock,” said Munir Al-Bursh, head of Gaza’s Department of Pharmaceuticals, adding that they were unable to import spare parts for ultra-sound equipment and Computed Tomography (CT) scanners.

Safa Ahmed, aged 21, gave birth to her baby girl Rataj this week at As-Shifa, Gaza’s primary hospital, but was discharged just two hours after the delivery.

Mothers stay an average of two hours in Gaza hospitals after delivery due to a lack of beds...

... “There were 7-8 women per room,” said Safa. “My husband had to look in pharmacies outside the hospital for Prostin gel and blood thinners while I was delivering.” Patients say those drugs are not readily available...

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides some medications and medical supplies, but they are not always able to bring things in, said ICRC’s communications officer in Gaza Mustafa Abu-Hassanain.

...“There is a lack of working foetal monitors and incubator parts, like ultra-violet lamps,” said Al-Sharif, “and there are problems with infection control resulting from a lack of sinks, soaps and hand towels.”

The blockade prohibits imports of construction materials like cement - without which it is difficult to rehabilitate and maintain hospitals, according to WHO... Full story

Central Gaza clashes: Israeli ground forces raid Deir Al-Balah

Israeli ground forces breached Gaza's borders and penetrated into the outskirts of the coastal city of Deir Al-Balah on Thursday morning, clashing with local resistance forces.

If correct, reports that Israeli troops entered at least a kilometer or more into the Gaza Strip would mark the deepest incursion since Israel withdrew after a major three-week offensive last January.

Deir Al-Balah residents said they heard explosions in the area. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Israeli military officials denied reports of troop activity in the area on Thursday morning, but said there had been reports of a mortar shell fired in the northern Gaza Strip. Full story

Israel’s Fifth Column: The People in Between

CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer

Palestine Chronicle - Jeff Gates

In October 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates coined a generic term to describe the most challenging combatants when waging unconventional warfare. He called them simply “the people in between.” Those people, a dominant force in mainstream American media, comprise a fifth column in support of those skilled at waging war by way of deception.

The term ‘fifth column’ originated in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s to depict forces that clandestinely undermine a populace—from within—to aid an external enemy...

... the term remains an apt depiction of how internal influence can be wielded by a hostile force. In the Information Age, this fifth column focuses on those ‘in between’ domains where modest numbers can wield outsized influence. Television news is optimal as modern-day media operates “in between” a populace and the facts they require for a system of governance reliant on informed consent.

... Wolf Blitzer at Cable News Network ... typifies how “the people in between” manipulate public opinion in plain sight and, to date, with legal impunity.

While working as a Washington correspondent for Jerusalem Post (1973-1990), Blitzer served as an editor of Near East Report, a publication founded by Isaiah Kenen, a registered foreign agent of Israel, who also founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC coordinates a network of transnational political operatives known loosely as “the Israel lobby.” Neither AIPAC nor Blitzer has yet registered as a foreign agent in the U.S.

The son of Polish Ashkenazi émigrés, Blitzer first emerged on the media scene in 1989 with the publication of Territory of Lies, an account of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard that The New York Times obligingly included in its list of “Notable Books of the Year.” Reviewer Robert Friedman described Blitzer’s sympathetic treatment of Pollard’s treason (the theft of more than one million classified documents) “a slick piece of damage control that would make his former employers at AIPAC (not to mention Israel’s Defense Ministry) proud.”

As a writer for Hebrew language newspapers in the 1970s, Blitzer wrote under the name Ze’ev Barak—Hebrew for “wolf lightning.” The Blitzer media presence first emerged with his CNN coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Initially a military reporter for CNN, he became a fixture on television news as CNN’s Clinton-era White House correspondent until 1999 when he became a high profile CNN anchor...

Abuse of the Public Trust

On one key media principle U.S. law is clear: the airwaves belong to the public. The nation’s Founders knew that the preservation of self-governance depends on an informed populace. That’s why modern-day lawmakers enacted legislation to ensure that media outlets are not concentrated in a few hands...

Little could America’s first lawmakers have known that an ideologically aligned few would concentrate broadcast media in the hands of those who share an undisclosed bias. When Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fell ill in Israel, Blitzer’s broadcast originated from Jerusalem. Likewise when Israel invaded Lebanon in July 2006. Blitzer again relocated to Israel to focus viewer attention on the situation there.

As Tel Aviv sought to expand the war to Iran, several anti-Zionist rabbis appeared in Tehran alongside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who echoed their wish that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history” (widely reported as a wish to “wipe Israel off the map”). Rather than interview these dissident rabbis, Blitzer featured David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan. Rather than associate the Iranian president with anti-Zionism, Blitzer used the Situation Room to associate him with racism and anti-Semitism...

... The displacement of facts with what a populace can be induced to believe is the very threat to personal freedom that the Founders sought to escape. The only modern aspect of this ancient form of warfare is the reach of the media technologies with which such deception can now operate—as with CNN—on a global scale. Full story

Lengthy discussion on US media coverage of Israel-Palestine

Recent Analyses

The Strategy Behind Israel's Migrant Labor Policies - Yonaton Preminger, CounterPunch

... Clearly, Israel has easy access to willing labor, so why does Israel maintain such a large migrant labor force? The principal reason has little to do with the lack of a local workforce. The migrant workers are simply cheaper and easier to exploit...

... the issue of Israel’s labor preferences goes beyond economic calculations and concerns the identity of the workers themselves....

... The preference for migrant labor over Palestinian labor stems from something for which “security” serves as a fig leaf: Israel’s striving to reduce the Arab presence on this piece of land...

Arab Family Sues Over "Racist Incitement" Israeli School Apartheid - Jonathon Cook, CounterPunch

... A report published in March revealed that the government invested $1,100 in each Jewish pupil’s education compared to $190 for each Arab pupil. The gap is even wider when compared to the popular state-run religious schools, where Jewish pupils receive nine times more funding than Arab pupils.

There is also an official shortfall of more than 1,000 classrooms for Arab children...

350,000 Immigrants Classed as "Without Religion" Rabbis Ban Marriage for Israeli "Untouchables" - Jonathon cook, CounterPunch

... “Civil marriages are not possible in Israel,” he said. “So the rabbis get to decide who can marry and who cannot.”

Israel has passed control of all matters relating to personal status -- births, marriages and divorces, and deaths -- to rabbis belonging to the strictest stream of Judaism, Orthodoxy.

... Official figures show that as many as 350,000 Jews are classified by the rabbinate as having “no religion”, and are therefore unable to marry in Israel...

Whose Acre? - Uri Avnery, CounterPunch

... In the first years of the last century Yitzhak Ben-Zvi... researched and found that the population of this country has not really changed from the earliest times. The Canaanites mixed with the Israelites, became Jews and Hellenists, and when the Byzantine empire, which then ruled this country, adopted Christianity, they too became Christians. After the Muslim conquest, they gradually became Arabs. In other words, the same village was Canaanite, became Israelite, passed through all the stages and in the end, became Arab. Nowadays it is Palestinian, unless it was wiped out in 1948...

Homewreckers and Vultures: Where are the Arabs to Stand Up for the Hanoun and Ghawi Families? - Bouthaina Shaaaban, CounterPunch

... I would like you to try and imagine someone forcing his way into your home without permission and ordering you at gun point to leave the safe home you have built through a lifetime of toil and hard work and turned into a nest for your children and grandchildren. Imagine foreign soldiers coming from the far ends of the world armed to the teeth with inherited hatred against you to expel you from your home, replace you, occupy your land, and put an end to your existence and history.....

... Where are all those hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims in the four corners of the world? Why do not they rush to our aid?...

... Despite the enormity of the crime and the tragedy, most of the Arab media limited themselves to quick news stories about the Hanoun and Ghawi families...

Daily Situation Report: August 18, 2009

Israeli Merkav Tank, File Photo

Israeli occupation forces on Palestinian land
  • conducted 22 raids into Palestinian territory
  • detained/kidnapped 27 Palestinians
  • leveled Palestinian agricultural land
  • closed Palestinian towns, villages, and roads
  • continued to construct an imprisoning wall on Palestinian land
  • tanks, armored vehicles and 4 bulldozers, covered by reconnaissance aircraft, raided deep into Gaza, firing intensively at agricultural land and houses, injuring a womand and her baby girl
  • Israeli helicopter gunship patrolled the skies above Gaza
Israeli naval ships
  • opened fire on Gazan fishing boats off Gaza City beach
Palestinians on Palestinian land
  • held a demonstration
  • detonated an explosive near an Israeli army patrol
Full report

Congressional trips to Israel

Image - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Click on image to enlarge)

The American Israel Education Foundation sponsored 400 Congressional trips to Israel, at a cost of over $3 million since 2000.

Republicans approved 199 of them.
Democrats approved 202 of them.

Most trips cost about $5500. Some, however, were considerably costlier.

For example, Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) spent $25,433.08.

Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) spent $27,923.32

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) spent $28,121.50

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) spent $24,010.50

Full report

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What would induce Arab countries to normalize trade relations with Israel?

IRMEP - Grant Smith
WAMU 88.5 American University Radio

Grant Smith, IRmep:
What would induce Arab countries to normalize trade relations with Israel?

When the US negotiated the US Israel Free Trade Area in 1984, when you were still at AIPAC, and you'll remember that AIPAC got a hold of the classified USTR report for that negotiation, you negotiated a deal which reversed the trading relationship from a US surplus to a $71 billion deficit to the US, equivalent to about 100,000 jobs per year. It locked out agricultural products from the US, Israel has become a huge problem in terms of commercializing patented clinical dossiers from pharmaceutical companies, and counterfeit drugs, it's used access to the US market to build a diamond export market which funds illegal settlements.

If that's the way Israel treats friends, why would Arab countries want to subject themselves to opening up to all that?

Martin Indyk, Saban Center:
Well, that's a highly tendentious way of describing free trade arrangements...

...the fact is that the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement served as a wedge that opened up the Congress to Free Trade Agreements throughout the world, including the NAFTA agreement.

No doubt there are some downsides to it, but otherwise it's been a very positive thing.

Full story

'I'm no anti-Semite,' says Swedish writer of IDF organ harvest story

Donald Boström, the Swedish journalist whose article accusing Israel Defense Forces soldiers of killing Palestinians to obtain their organs evoked outrage, denied on Tuesday that he was motivated by anti-Semitism.

"I'm very sad to hear people accuse me of anti-Semitism," Boström told Haaretz on Tuesday.

Sweden's largest daily newspaper, Aftonbladet, ran Bostrom's piece under the headline, "They plunder the organs of our sons". In the wake of the report and the furious public reaction, the Israeli embassy in Stockholm on Wednesday sent a sternly-worded diplomatic protest to the Swedish government.

Boström's article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

"Now that [the story] has once again risen to the surface, I wanted to point out the link [to the New Jersey affair] and the fact that there needs to be an investigation of the claims," Boström said.

Boström said he had offered the story to another Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, which turned it down "with no explanation."

The reporter said Aftonbladet, the most popular evening tabloid in Sweden, published the article without making any editorial changes.

Asa Linderborg, an editor of the newspaper's culture section which printed the story, told Haaretz that the publication "stands behind the demand for an international inquiry."

"We had many discussions on whether to publish the article or not, and to the best of my knowledge, there are no facts there that are incorrect," Linderborg said... Full story

Israel furious over Swedish newspaper article
AP - Matti Friedman

Israeli and Swedish officials responded furiously Wednesday to a Swedish newspaper article that suggested Israeli troops had killed Palestinians and harvested their organs.

The article published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Monday, headlined "Our sons are plundered for their organs," implies a link between those charges and the recent arrest in the U.S. of an American Jew for illicit organ trafficking.

The story made headlines in Israel, where some commentators compared it to medieval accusations that Jews killed Christian children for their blood...

... The article was illustrated with photographs of a dead Palestinian man with a line of surgical stitches running the length of his torso, apparently taken after an autopsy, as well as pictures of stone-throwing youths and Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, a New York resident arrested in an FBI sting last month and charged with plotting to buy a kidney from an Israeli and sell it to an American patient for $160,000... Full story

Ha'aretz story on Israeli professor who found evidence for "blood libel":

Bar-Ilan prof. defiant on blood libel book 'even if crucified'
Ha'aretz - 12/02/2007

The author of a book on the use of blood by Jews in Ashkenazi communities in the Middle Ages said Sunday, in the face of the furor its publication aroused, "I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me."

In an interview with Haaretz from Rome, Professor Ariel Toaff said he stood behind the contention of his book, "Pasque di Sangue," just published in Italy, that there is a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews. However, he said he was sorry his arguments had been twisted.

"I tried to show that the Jewish world at that time was also violent, among other things because it had been hurt by Christian violence," the Bar-Ilan history professor said. Of course I do not claim that Judaism condones murder. But within Ashkenazi Judaism there were extremist groups that could have committed such an act and justified it," he said.

Toaff said he reached his conclusions after coming across testimony from the trial for the murder of a Christian child, Simon of Trento, in 1475, which in the past was believed to have been falsified. "I found there were statements and parts of the testimony that were not part of the Christian culture of the judges, and they could not have been invented or added by them... Full story

The Israeli military kidnaps 12 Palestinians from West Bank communities

The Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday 12 Palestinian civilians during morning invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Israeli troops kidnapping a Palestinian civilian in Hebron � Photo by IMEMC's Ghassan Bannoura -File 2008
Israeli troops kidnapping a Palestinian civilian in Hebron -Photo by IMEMC's Ghassan Bannoura - 2008

The Israeli attacks were reported in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, central in addition to Qalqilia and Tulkarem cities both located in northern West Bank.

The Israeli military radio said that the men were taken to military detention camps for questioning... Full story

A woman and her child injured by Israeli military fire east of Gaza

A Palestinian woman and her child were injured as Israeli tanks opened fire on Wednesday at homes located east of Gaza City.

an Israeli tank near Gaza - file 2009
an Israeli tank near Gaza - file 2009 - IMEMC

Witnesses reported that Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded farm lands close to the borders with Israel. As bulldozers destroyed farm lands tanks opened fire at resident homes, leaving one woman and her child injured.

Medical sources said that the woman and her child were moved to Gaza City hospital after receiving moderate wounds.

Later on in the day the Israeli military opened fire at homes close to Nahal Oze crossing at the eastern borders. Damage was reported but no injurIes. Full story

Jerusalem shop owners close in protest of arbitrary Israeli fines

East Jerusalem, 2007

Palestinian-owned shops in the Old City of Jerusalem closed on Wednesday protesting multiple arbitrary fines by West Jerusalem municipal officers who have invaded several shops and harassed owners.

Israeli municipal authorities recently began enforcing a law prohibiting shops to display their goods on tables and racks in front of the stores. Officers have barged into nearly a hundred stores, often knocking down displays and handing over fines of 1,000 shekels (260 US dollars).

Shopkeepers said this is the fifth time Israeli authorities have attempted to enforce the law, but said they have arbitrarily applied it. They also noted this time the enforcement comes ahead of the busy shopping month of Ramadan, as Muslims buy special ingredients for foods and gifts for children and relatives. Full story

Israeli bulldozers destroy five mechanics workshops without warning

Israeli forces demolished five car garages south of [the West Bank city of ] Qalqiliya without prior notice and without giving reasons to any of the garage owners.

Local sources said the buildings are owned by Muhammad Al-Sarawy, Bassam Zeid, Muhammad Zeid, Muhammad Ania, and David Bakr, all in the Azzun Atma area.

During the demolitions soldiers closed off the entrance to the village and prevented all access to the area. Full story

Israel to go ahead with construction of 450 East J settlement homes

Israeli authorities recently revived a plan to build 450 residential units in a settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem, the Hebrew version of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday.

Haaretz’ business supplement, The Marker, said the Israeli department of government properties is expected to invite tenders for a bid to build 450 residential units in Pisgat Ze’ev, a neighborhood on the Palestinian side of the 1967 borders in internationally recognized East Jerusalem.

The newspaper said the department was relaxing some of its earlier requirements for bid so the project can get going in the next six months. Full story

OPT: Where cancer sufferers get only painkillers

GAZA CITY, 19 August 2009 (IRIN) - Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza’s primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut.

In April, Arafat was permitted to travel to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem where he received three series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. He was scheduled to return for further treatment, but has not been granted permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza.

“He is only given pain killers,” said Arafat’s father, Faraj Hamdona, explaining that that is all As-Shifa has to offer.

According to a July 2009 report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem, Gaza doctors and nurses do not have the medical equipment to respond to the health needs of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip...

WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza’s healthcare system to the Israeli blockade of the territory... The poor organization of maintenance services in Gaza compounds the problem, reports WHO.

Photo: Erica Silverman/IRIN
Mohamed Daher, admitted to As-Shifa Hospital for a blood disorder, and his wife Hyam, who had to take his blood samples to an outside clinic for testing as As-Shifa lacks equipment for basic chemical blood tests
Medical equipment sits idle

... WHO also said suppliers were unable to access medical equipment for repairs and maintenance and “since 2000, maintenance staff and clinical workers have not been able to leave the Strip for training in the use of medical devices”. ..

... Another problem for medics in Gaza is the irregular electricity supply, which affects sensitive medical equipment such as incubators and kidney dialysis machines.

Hospitals in Gaza use uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems as backups, but they require batteries which are often not available due to border closures with Israel and Egypt, according to WHO... Full story

US slams Israeli restrictions on Arab-American travelers

The US views Israeli rules targeting Arab-American travelers and restricting their access to the West Bank as unfair and unacceptable, the State Department said on Wednesday.

“We have repeatedly told the Government of Israel that the United States expects that all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship,” the State Department said in a statement responding to an earlier question asked at a Washington press briefing on restrictions placed on Arabs and Palestinians in Israel... Full story

Daily Situation Report: August 17, 2009

Israeli occupation forces
  • conducted 33 raids into Palestinian territory
  • detained/kidnapped 30 Palestinians
  • attacked Palestinian fishermen
  • demolished 2 Palestinian wells
  • closed off towns, villages, and roads
  • confiscated a Palestinian fishing boat
Israeli civilians living on Palestinian land
  • torched Palestinian olive trees
  • held 2 demonstrations
Full report